CP Ships Class Action

Date Closed

February 03, 2010

Lead Office



12.80 Million CAD

Both the Québec Superior Court and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice have approved settlements putting a definitive end to the class proceedings initiated in those two provinces against CP Ships Limited, a New Brunswick company headquartered in the UK. The plaintiffs in these proceedings had alleged the company had engaged in negligent misrepresentations with respect to certain financial statements.  The Ontario settlement covers class members in common law Canada while the Quebec settlement covers class members that province only, a civilian jurisdiction with a somewhat different class action regime.
These Canadian settlements, which were approved by Justice Barakett in Quebec on January 1st, 2010 and Justice Rady in Ontario on February 3rd, provide C$12.8 million in benefits to be distributed to class members by way of a claims process as well as class counsel fees. The judges in both jurisdiction considered this result to be fair, reasonable and in the best interests of class members, thereby bringing to a close one of the first nation-wide securities class actions to have passed the certification threshold.

In early 2008, US plaintiffs settled a comparable action. The US settlement class excluded Canadian citizens who had purchased their shares over the TSX. Prior to the US settlement approval hearing, Canadian plaintiffs from Ontario and BC attempted to challenge the US settlement, but were unsuccessful. Also prior to the hearing, the Québec plaintiffs applied for and were granted authorization to commence a class action (albeit one excluding large institutional investors) by the Québec Superior Court.

In late 2008, the Ontario plaintiffs filed a motion in the Ontario action to add a large Canadian institutional investor, OMERS Administration Corporation, as a plaintiff. On June 3, 2009, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted this motion.

McCarthy Tétrault LLP represented the defendants, with a team led by Donald Bisson.